Diet and healthy ageing 2100: will we globalise local knowledge systems?

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Heinrich, M, & Prieto, JM 2008, 'Diet and healthy ageing 2100: will we globalise local knowledge systems?', Ageing Research Reviews, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 249-274.

The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2007.08.002


Diet and health clearly are linked intrinsically. Today, more than ever food is functionalized and tailor made for specific groups (e.g. athletes, the elderly, and people with specific conditions). Increased life expectancy has resulted in an increase in the quest for diets which allow for a healthy ageing. In looking back 100 years, we try to assess how of our diets will evolve in the next 100 years and how this may be linked to a ‘healthier ageing’. Our argument centres around a series of dichotomies which we used to explain the main changes in dietary habits and how this impacts on health – the continuous move from dietary traditions which are local, low in technological input and based on empiricism, to diets which are global, require high technological input and are science-based. The innovations our societies have achieved over the last century have allowed us to improve our diet based on a better scientific understanding of the health benefits of such diets, but this is often not achieved due to commercial considerations. This will require that all sectors of the food industry work towards healthy and economically affordable diets. In addition, there will be a continuous demand by the consumers to ascertain that ‘our’ foods are not only healthy but also convenient and easy to prepare. Healthy ageing will require us to look at a multitude of aspects of foods, to integrate this knowledge and to apply it in all sectors of food production.

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